SAN ANTONIO - Grass was replaced by carpet. Yard markers by chairs. Goal posts by, well, nothing.
When head coach Robert Weiner held his first practice for the East squad at the Army All-American Bowl - he did it indoors in a giant ballroom at the Grand Hyatt.
He didn't have to. He wanted to.
The coach from Tampa (Fla.) Plant feels it's his secret to success this week.
"I told the kids they benefited from having a coach from Florida," he joked. "It's 70 degrees in this ball room and 44 outside."
There was a method to his madness. And it had nothing to do with the weather.
The first two days of All-American Bowl week are spent with two-a-day practices: Two hours in the morning, followed by a two-hour lunch/rest break, followed by a second two-hour practice.
In years past, squads spent the entire time at a practice field. Weiner felt that was too long to be in one spot. So Weiner spent the first two hours in the ballroom, using a white board to go over plays and formations.
"To be in some place for six hours is difficult," he said. "I told the kids it's like being in the mall. If you're there for six hours, by the time you get to the end of the mall - even if there's something you really want - you're tired of being there.
"The last two hours is the time you do your team stuff, the time you need to really be focused. If you're in one spot for six hours it's tough. The kids can be in lag time, lounging around time."
But in a ballroom?
Actually, the players didn't mind.
For starters, they got to start an hour later than the West squad, which needed to travel to its practice. And once they got going, they were won over.
"It was actually kind of cool," East quarterback Gunner Kiel of Columbus (Ind.) East said. "The change of scenery was nice. To be able to look around and see a ballroom was different."
"Practice is practice," Kiel said. "You just need to focus and learn what you need to learn, it doesn't matter where you are."
Maybe for the quarterbacks. Or the receivers ... linemen ... backs. Actually, everyone but the punters and kickers.
With no goal posts to use, and a ceiling preventing any real practice, punter Bradley Pinion of Concord (N.C.) Northwest Cabarrus and kicker Brooks Abbott of Jacksonville (Fla.) Bolles School were left with little to do but stretch, talk and play with their phones.
Pinion didn't mind.
"It was kind of cool," he said. "We found enough to do."
Believe it or not, it wasn't the first time Pinion had practice indoors.
"I was at a punting camp and it rained," he said. "So we had to go inside."
That time because of weather. This time was because of the whim of his coach.